University

"With a degree is better"

14 April 2011

"A terrific tool Italy should be proud of as it allows to understand the situation of the Italian graduates better than in other countries". According to Francis Green, professor at the Institute of Education, University of London, AlmaLaurea is much more. "A research model with an extent large enough to be used as a mean of placing graduates in different jobs".
During the AlmaLaurea International Conference, "Human Capital and Employment in the European and Mediterranean Area" held on 10th and 11th March 2011 in Bologna, Green also spoke of overqualification and of the importance for young people to get a university degree. "The issue, he said, is that there is little fluidity in the labor market".

Also over-qualification in the British case. Do you think that there are the same in Italian and in the European case? .
"I do, indeed. The cost of over-education and being over-skilled for the individual is that they find themselves someway disillusioned about their work. They’ve gone to university, they’ve acquired certain skills and then they arrive in the job and they simply don’t use them. And the problem is that. This seems to be a persistent problem. It would be alright if you could, if you went into a job and for one year of two and then later you moved into a better job. But the evidence seems to be and it’s true for Italy as well, 60% of people who are over-educated in one year are still over-educated 5 years later. So that’s not good. And we need more fluidity in the labour market to get over that."

So in presence of such criticalities why in your opinion should young people engage in higher studies?.
"They should engage in high studies because the cost of not doing so is even greater and for two reasons: first of all, not everybody becomes over-educated. Many people do get into good graduate jobs, so if you are lucky enough to do that, that’s one reason to, so. But even people who are over-educated, they're still better off -the evidence shows- then those people who didn’t go to university in the first place. On average, it’s better to go to university and even if you don't get a traditional graduate job, you are still much better off than if you left school at 18 years old and went straight into a job".

So what kind of studies or faculty would you suggest to young people engaging in higher education?
"That’s a difficult question I think it’s really up to the individual to study what they want, most. What I say most of all is that people should be fully aware of the labour market consequences of what they do, but if somebody wants to study, say, fine art or an art subject in a university, even though it's not so much in demand in the labour market, that seems to me that absolutely they’re right and they should probably do so. It is most important to people to do something they are enthusiastic about when they are at university".

So the problem of over-qualification, which is a European one, do you think it is visible in the Southern shore of the Mediterranean countries too? And if yes, maybe in what country more?
"I can’t tell you which country is suffering worst, because we don't have good comparable data yet or about over-qualification. There is a new survey which the OECD is organising called "The program for international assessment of adult competences” which is going to be carried out this year and in a year or two’s time when the results become available we should be able to answer your question very accurately. I know that the country with the worst amount of over-education in the world is actually South Korea. So if anybody wants to know what things may become like if everybody goes to university, well everybody nearly 90% of people are going to university in South Korea, they should look to that country and see what sorts of jobs these people are doing".

What is the value added of AlmaLaurea in facilitating and improving the placing of young people in the labour market? Do you think that AlmaLaurea can be an effective tool also in reducing issues related to job dissatisfaction?
"AlmaLaurea is a terrific research tool for understanding what’s happening, as I said. The extent to which it can be used is large enough to be used as a mean of placing, helping to place graduates in different jobs. I think you need to speak to a career’s advisor for that. Career’s advisors could be better informed than they are in general, I don’t know about the situation in Italy, I’m afraid. But it is a terrific research tool, it's something which is not necessarily equalled in a number of other countries and in Italy, you should be proud of it here, because it is a good research tool, we can now understand better how things are in Italy than in some of the other countries".

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